This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ – Jeremiah 6:16
If you travel much, you probably do a little planning ahead of time. A few weeks before we head out, I see my husband studying his big Rand-McNally map. The prophet says that the Lord wants us to ask where the good way is and walk in it. It just makes common sense to choose a good way. I’m sure my husband is not looking at the cow paths that will take us where we need to go. He’s mapping out a route using interstate highways and byways.
So many in the world today are saying they will not walk in that good way. They are so wrapped up in their rights, they are overlooking the wonderful benefits that follow when they submit to the God of the universe through Christ Jesus.
Jeremiah brings us words from God Himself, yet we still don’t heed them. How do we find rest for our souls apart from walking the good way provided by God? We can’t. We think we can.
Oh – maybe we can find it in making lots of money. Yeah – that must be the way. Have you ever met someone who won the lottery? I have.
We were going to a little church in a small community near our city. My husband and I took care of the flower garden in the spring and summer months. One Saturday, we were working in the garden when we heard some people driving by and they were just honking and waving and being crazy. We knew what they were thinking – they thought we were the couple that won the lottery – but we weren’t. The guy who did the lawn for the church about a block away had just won the lottery! The last I heard, he had to sell his house, move without leaving a forwarding address, as I understand it he ended up divorced and basically miserable, wishing he had never played the lotto. I’m guessing that money doesn’t buy happiness or rest for the soul.
I’ve heard people say that they feel wonderful when they are eating yummy scrumptious food. Hmm… this is a path I’ve trod. The food you eat tastes so good, I’m the first to admit it. You chew for about 30 seconds, then swallow. You swap 30 seconds of wonderful for a lifetime of weight (fat, let’s face it) on your body. Eventually, eating and overeating will catch up with you. As little as two pounds of extra weight on your knees can do a number on them and a knee replacement is needed. Disease such as type 2 diabetes can result from being overweight. I’m guessing food won’t bring rest to our souls. It’s not even an effective way to deal with anxiety or fear. Stress eating doesn’t take stress away – it just makes it worse.
How about working out and making our bodies look perfect? Yeah – surely exercise would bring rest to our souls! Yeah – let’s just go to the gym every day and become gym rats. We can get really fit and spend hours looking at our own reflection in the mirror. Well, yes that’s going to help get weight off and yes that will make our health and overall outlook on life better, but that’s not what brings rest to our souls. God does want us to take care of our one and only body – but no, it’s still the wrong path to receive rest for our souls.
See where this is going? People turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, and all sorts of addictive behavior to find satisfaction for the flesh and a way to escape the stresses of life – but it’s not going to give rest for the soul. It’s only when we get on the right path – God’s path and His ways that we find peace, joy, Agape love (God’s kind of love), and yes, rest for our souls. 🙂